A co-worker and I were chatting. “They should plant some flowers between here and the mountains. I’m taking my parents to Jasper and the drive is a bit monotonous,” he said and I paraphrase. It might have been some friends or other relatives in the story. I can’t remember.
I leapt to the defense of the natural beauty of Alberta. “The wildness is already spolied by ditches cleared back 50′ from the road,” I may have said. “There’s a ton of variety (because variety is weighed see). You just have to appreciate it.” or “The beauty is there but hidden. Like our provincial flower, the wild rose, sometimes you’ve got to search a little to appreciate it.”
I love the wild forests of northern Alberta. (I’m using wild in the sense of thinned, logged, etc.) A spindly poplar surrounded by spruce or pine. Birch bark fallen from a tree onto the ground. I can’t explain why.
But as much as I defended it I also had to admit I used to think the same myself. The start of the drive from PR to Edmonton was boring enough, but at least Dad used to comment on how the crops were doing or spot an iron horse along the road. Once you reached Valleyview and the fields disappeared and the forests reigned it was dull as dirt. We would play eye spy and after one person in the car went for coniferous tree you pretty much restricted yourself to items inside the vehicle.
Fortunately I liked to read and could bury my nose in a book. When something exciting did happen – bear, cow, deer, coyote, moose – I’d whip my eyes up, but normally miss it as we moved past.
I’m not sure when I started to appreciate the endless acres of pine. But I do think they are pretty nifty now. For many people, they are stunned by the sight of the mountains rising and surrounding you as you drive into them. That is neat. For me though, my favorite view of the province is the descent into the PR valley watching the boreal forest appear beneath us split by the river and a small town. (Big enough though.)
I sure do like that.
Anyway, there is no need to plant flowers along the road. Nuff said.